Reps to probe on FERMA’s N60bn COVID-19 Funds  

Reps to probe on FERMA’s N60bn COVID-19 Funds 

 

By Mikail Ajibola

The House of Representatives Public Accounts Committee declared on Monday its commitment to closely monitor the execution of 192 projects by the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA), funded with N60bn from the COVID-19 funds released by the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation.

During a rigorous interrogation session, the committee directed probing questions at the Chief Medical Director of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Prof Henry Ugboma, regarding the utilization of N949m allocated for COVID-19 intervention.

FERMA’s Managing Director, Emeka Agabasi, informed the committee that the agency successfully executed 192 projects across the six geo-political zones, completing 186, with only six remaining unfinished. He provided a breakdown, stating that 34 projects were in the North-Central, 30 in the North-West, 32 in the South-West, 34 in the South-South, 27 in the South-East, and 35 in the North-East.

However, lawmakers expressed dissatisfaction with the documents submitted by Agabasi, citing insufficient copies for the committee members. The committee voiced its concern, stating, “We have only five copies of the documents we requested. We have more than 30 members here. So, even if you give us 11 copies, it will still not be sufficient for the investigation.” Consequently, the committee decided to conduct an on-site inspection of the projects.

Turning their attention to Prof Henry Ugboma, the CMD of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, the committee discovered that the hospital management received N949m in five tranches. Chairman Bamidele Salam raised concerns, stating that the funds surpassed the amount appropriated by the National Assembly.

In response, the committee requested comprehensive documentation from Prof Ugboma, demanding details on all funds received, contracts awarded, and approvals from the Federal Executive Council and the Bureau of Public Procurement. This intensified scrutiny reflects the committee’s dedication to ensuring accountability and transparency in the management of allocated funds and project execution.

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